Diving into Metaphor
“Juliet is the sun!” Shakespeare famously wrote. And Pound, just as famously, saw the faces at a Metro station as “petals on a wet, black bough.” The magic of metaphor: one thing in terms of another. Metaphor structures our thinking and daily lives. For poets, it’s one of our most powerful tools. Using two chapters from my book Ordinary Genius as a jumping-off point, we’ll read, write, and think together about how metaphor works in our and others’ poems, both as controlling conceit and as local fireworks to create surprise and depth. You’ll need to buy Ordinary Genius if you don’t have it, as it will be a resource for us beyond those two chapters, and there will be lots more material online. We will all try to remember the difference between metonymy and synecdoche, and we’ll have more fun than a barrel of monkeys, or a tornado in a trailer park.
Kim Addonizio is the author of eight poetry collections, two novels, two short story collections, and two books on writing poetry: The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within. Her latest books are a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress (Penguin), and a book of poems, Mortal Trash (W.W. Norton). Her work has been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, two Pushcart Prizes, and other awards, and has been translated into several languages. Her collection Tell Me was a National Book Award Finalist. She has taught at colleges, universities, conferences, and festivals, both in the US and abroad.